The Golden State Warriors turned plenty of heads in the 2020 NBA Draft.
With Anthony Edwards already off the board, some expected the Dubs to take a flier on LaMelo Ball.
Instead, they chose not to logjam their backcourt and went with James Wiseman instead.
Wiseman was once considered the best prospect in his class but came with some question marks after missing most of his lone season in Memphis, and some also questioned his fit in today’s game as a rather old-school big man.
The early returns weren’t exactly encouraging.
He showed glimpses of great play and unmatched athleticism but was still quite raw, and a season-ending injury only made things more complicated.
Fast forward to today, and the Dubs realized that they couldn’t afford to wait any longer, so they wound up trading him in a money-saving move to bring Gary Payton II back.
Of course, losing a former second-overall pick just three years into his career is far from ideal, but coach Steve Kerr knew that their timelines just weren’t the same:
“I think between the injuries and the inexperience coming into a team like ours that is fighting for championships,” Kerr said. “Playing with a group that has been together for a long time, it was just difficult for me to give James the runway that he needed. He was great every single day, came to work with a great attitude, a positive spirit. He’s everything you look for in a young player in terms of his approach and his talent. But, the timing was difficult just given what he needed and where we are as a franchise.”
Steve Kerr on why it didn’t work with James Wiseman and the Warriors
“It was just difficult for me to give James the runway that he needed.” pic.twitter.com/YmSQPOTsCo
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 14, 2023
Wiseman will now get a fresh start in Detroit, although that’s not exactly an ideal situation, either.
The Pistons already have Jalen Duren, who’s having an outstanding year as a rookie, and that kind of competition may not what a guy like him needs.
Wiseman is still quite young and has the physical tools to become an elite two-way player in this league, even with his old-school kind of game.
But the Warriors needed someone who could contribute right away, especially amid such a complicated season.NEXT: The Celebrated Warriors-Blazers Trade Has Become Controversial